Next to loyalty and rewards, the “shared economy” or “collaborative economy” is probably the second hottest space in startup land. Startups that encourage borrowing, bartering, ride sharing, or swapping are often categorized in the collaborative economy. Startups that facilitate a direct transaction between Person A and Person B–whether it be with services, money, or goods–fall into the shared economy.
RidePost, Airbnb, FlightCar, ToySwap, and the hundreds of others like them are collaborative economy startups.
Jeremiah Owyang, an analyst with the Altimeter Group, has been tracking this hot trend in startups since February. He compiled this awesome list of 200 startups that fit into the “collaborative economy” category.
On Friday Owyang released Altimeter’s latest findings along with a great infographic outlining how hot the collaborative space is. They polled the 200 startups in the list linked above to see how they were spreading across many verticals and released some important findings.
According to Altimeter’s research, entrepreneurs are entering into the collaborative space with new startups because the cost of getting into the space is rather low. They also seem to be the hot space that VC’s are looking into, and of course there’s the “sharing” and “helping” your fellow man appeal of collaborative startups.
While Owyang seems bullish on the collaborative space, that optimism comes with many warnings. The first thing that he cites is the fact that each collaborative vertical has 5-15 startups doing the exact same thing.
“I see 5-15 startups in nearly every category, for examples a variation of car share ownership, shared car usage, shared car services, and more being offered.” Owyang said on his blog.
Owyang also points out that many startups are looking to either partner with major companies the way Relayride is partnering with GM for OnStar, get acquired by major companies the way ZipCar got acquired by Hertz, or disrupt major companies or industries, the way Airbnb does for hotel chains.
The one thing he doesn’t comment on is the legal snafus that these startups are getting into. In most cases, like the case with FlightCar, the major companies being disrupted by these collaborative economy startups are fighting back with lawsuits.
If your startup is in the collaborative or sharing space Owyang’s entire series of posts on the topic are great reads.
The infographic below, chronicles the rise of the collaborative economy.